Lately I have been spending a great deal of time researching and learning about electronic books and electronic readers. A couple of years ago, the high school library invested in a few e-readers. The first e-books to be purchased for the e-readers were the required novels that are read in the high school English classes.
Many students continue to read the hard copies of the novels, but many come in everyday to use the e-readers. The students like that they can change the font size. Others like that they can put on a set of headphones and listen to the novel while following along. Some just put the headphones on and read. The headphones just help them to not get distracted and be able to focus on their novel.
Now the high school library is about to start offering another version of e-books that the high school students will be able to read on any computer screen. A couple of students have already tried it out for me, and they really like it. Unfortunately, these libraries take time to build, but gradually it happens. Two years ago, we started with just a handful of titles, and now the high school library has all the classroom novels that are available for the school’s e-readers.
The library still has hard copies of books, but now is offering more and more electronically. Due to the success at the high school, the middle school has purchased some e-readers and is starting its own e-library.
Like all things, it takes a little time to get everything up and running. Just this week I downloaded an audio book for a student onto an MP-3 player. The book was too large and could not be downloaded. I had to divide the book into two parts. Once the student finished the first part, I was able to download the second part. For some students, audio books work well, and others like a text version. Sometimes students will come to the library to borrow an audio book because they can listen to it on the school bus while riding to and from a school event. It helps them keep up with their reading for class.
E-book, e-readers and e-libraries are here. Print books are still available, but now libraries are also offering more digital material. Today’s students have grown up in an environment loaded with technology. The new e- buzz words are just one more element to help our students succeed in today’s world.
Pamela Voyles is librarian for the Port Aransas Independent School District.